A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship.
The bitter, cynical and lonely Barbara Covett is a tough and conservative teacher, near to retirement, who is loathed by her colleagues and students. In the loneliness of her apartment, she spends her spare time writing her journal, taking care of her old cat Portia and missing her special friend Jennifer Dodd. When Sheba Hart joins the high-school as the new art teacher, Barbara dedicates her attention to the newcomer, writing sharp and unpleasant comments about her behavior and clothes. When Barbara helps Sheba in a difficult situation with two students, the grateful Sheba invites her to have lunch with her family. Sheba introduces her husband and former professor Richard Hart, who is about twenty years older than she; her rebellious teenager daughter Polly; and her son Ben that has Down's Syndrome. Barbara becomes close to Sheba, but when she accidentally discovers that Sheba is having an affair with the fifteen year-old student Steven Connolly, Barbara sees the chance to ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In Mexico, some press and merchandising material claimed this movie to be "A film by Bill Nighy", whereas Bill Nighy is an actor in this movie. See more »
Steven is stated as being fifteen years old and in Year 10. Pupils become fifteen during Year 10 (except in exceptional circumstances). Later in the film, Sheba states that he is going to be sixteen in May, i.e. he was already fifteen before entering Year 10. See more »
[voiceover of Barbara writing in her diary]
People trust me with their secrets. But who do I trust with mine? You, only you.
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Judi Dench and Cate Blanchet both have played the fierce Queen Elizabeth I in their careers and here they fight for the crown in a royal match that is as entertaining as it is jarring. Two civilized women breaking into very uncivilized patterns of behavior. A highbrow story with a tabloid sensibility performed with truth and gusto. Bette Davis would have killed for Judi Dench's part at the time of Baby Jane and although there is nothing grotesque in the way Dame Judy presents us her monster, the monster herself is grotesque. She explains, in a witty and consistent voice over, what's in her mind. The center of her intentions become so appallingly clear to us that Cate Blanchet's slowness to catch up becomes exasperating. Maybe her suffocating domestic situation throws her into the arms of her absurdity. She seems a woman searching for validation without any real vocation. A teacher who doesn't believe she can teach, a mediocre wife a light weight mother. Judi Dench is relentlessly solid in her madness made of longing and fears. I left the theater with a desperate need for a double scotch on the rocks, just to take a strange taste off my mouth.
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